Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
canon_eos_t4i_concl.jpg
  • 18-Megapixel CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-inch, 1.04 million dot Vari-Angle Touch LCD screen
  • DIGIC 5 image processor
  • Hybrid Phase and Contrast Auto Focus
  • Dedicated Video Record Button / Live View button
  • SR Auto mode
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • Continuous Auto Focus during video recording
  • In-Camera Video Editing
  • Dustproof
  • Kit includes the new 18-135mm IS STM lens
  • HDR/Backlighting mode
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery
Pros
  • SR Auto shooting mode is accurate and easy in all situations
  • Image capture during video recording can be very convenient
  • Outstanding image quality for an entry-level dSLR
  • Captures beautiful Full HD video
  • Excellent performance with the new DIGIC 5 processor
  • Several Handheld modes that combine several images are great if you do not have a tripod handy
  • 3.0-inch Vari-Angle Touch LCD is bright, highly detailed and easy to use
  • Very high quality touch screen and interface
  • Great Battery Life
  • HDMI output
  • Audio Input
Cons
  • Higher ISO levels, 3200 and up, are too noisy for quality images
  • There is a pause if you capture an image during video recording
  • Burst shooting was just under the 5fps that Canon claims is possible
  • Slightly Higher Price than other entry-level models
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.7 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 4/10 of a  second
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 5/10 to 6/10 of a second
  • Sequential burst =  4.65fps 
  • Sequential flash burst = 1.89fps
  • High Speed Burst = 7fps 3M
  • RAW Sequential burst =  4.00fps for 6 images, Slowing after the first 3
  • Other than the burst rates, there was no noticeable difference between shooting in JPEG mode and RAW+JPEG mode.
  • All tests were taken using an Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
Canon's newest entry-level dSLR camera, the Rebel T4i has been given a few major upgrades, including continuous autofocus during video recording, a touch screen LCD, and the new DIGIC 5 image processor. These have greatly improved the camera's performance in both image quality, speed and video capture. This is an outstanding entry-level digicam.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking to make the jump to a dSLR or upgrade an existing entry-level dSLR camera. With a slightly higher price than most other entry level units, you will receive better performance and image quality, truly getting what you pay for.
2012 has brought us yet another Canon EOS digital Rebel, and once again, the Canon Rebel T4i is leading the way in the intro/beginner dSLR market. It has not had major changes from the T3i, but it has had some upgrades that will make significant increases in quality and performance. While Canon stuck with an 18-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, they have integrated it with a new AF system allowing for both phase and contrast detect autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate autofocus. Canon also upgraded the image processor from the DIGIC4 to the DIGIC5, giving it more power and faster performance. Finally the 3.0-inch, Vari-angle LCD has been upgraded to a 3.0-inch Touch Vari-angle LCD. This touch screen uses the same technology used on touch screen smart phones for much more control and sensitivity than we are used to seeing on a digital camera. 

Another area that Canon really set out to improve is the camera's video recording functions. With the new AF system, a new style lens (STM) from Canon and the ability for the camera to continually autofocus while recording are really pushing the limits of video capture from a dSLR. These features allow it to compete with the small ILC cameras, which already have this ability since they do not have a mirror to contend with. The T4i offers full 1080p HD video capture at both 30fps and 24fps and 720p HD video capture at 60fps. Buying the T4i kit with the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens gives you a lens that allows the continuous autofocus to work without disturbing your movies with audible noise from the foucs motor. A stereo microphone has been included to capture sound, and they have also included a mic input that allows yo uto use an optional external mic syou your sound will match the quality of the video.

If you are not shooting video, most of your shooting will most likely involve using the camera's optical viewfinder. The T4i features the same pentamirror as past models, which gives you approx. 95% of both horizontal and vertical coverage. The eye-level unit preserves a 19mm eye point and a -3.0 - +1.0 diopter adjustment. It is also worth noting that the rubber eye up is very comfortable, and blocks out most of the ambient light when your face is pressed against it. All of your exposure information is also shown here at the bottom, so you always know your settings. Pulling the camera slightly away allows you to view the LCD and the camera info for making quick changes. 

Canon's new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which is available as the T4i's kit lens, has been designed to work with the T4i's Movie AF Servo mode that allows the camera to continuously autofocus while recording. Along with this it has a new image stabilization allowing 4 stops of shake correction, the lens is more compact than the previous EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. While using this lens to test the T4i, we did not find ourselves in a situation where this lens was out of its league. It's wide enough for landscape and group photography, while having plenty of zoom to get closer to a distant object. Its macro capabilities are decent, allowing us to get well within 1ft. of an object. Overall, this will probably be the only lens that most beginners will need or actually use because of its versatility. 

Handling the T4i is fairly easy. While it may seem a bit more complicated than a compact point-n-shoot, it is much easier to work than a higher level dSLR. The camera also gives a brief description of each shooting mode, so you will always be able to find the mode you are looking for, even if you do not recognize the symbols on the mode dial. One big change over the T3i, and previous models, is Canon has taken the video mode off of the mode dial and added it to the on/off switch. This makes it easier and faster to switch the camera into movie mode. When put to movie mode, the camera automatically starts Live View mode, allowing you to start recording with just the push of the REC button. While in movie mode, the camera can also capture still images even while recording a movie. If you capture an image while recording, there will be a pause in your video.

Live View and viewing your captured images is accomplished with the new 3.0-inch, 1,040,000 dot Vari-Angle Touch LCD. Like the LCD introduced on the T3i, this Vari-Angle screen gives you the ability to shoot in tough situations by adjusting the LCD to face you no matter what direction the camera is facing. It even allows you to see and frame your self-portrait images with ease. What has changed is Canon has made this LCD a touch screen display that is very intuitive, allowing for multi-touch functions like zooming, changing images and even operating the camera's shutter. Testing the touch screen features was a pleasure, as this screen is far more sensitive and easier to use than any other digicam we have tested.

Taking a look at our outdoor samples, we can see that the camera produces an excellent overall image, with great exposure and outstanding colors. Our standard outdoor samples were taken in both SR Auto and Program modes, showing that the SR Auto does make a difference if you are only going to point-n-shoot. It did produce a slightly different exposure in each sample, depending on the situation. The one easily noticeable flaw in our samples comes from the lens, showing chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) in some of the high contrast areas. We also shot outdoors in some actions situations, showing that with enough available light, you can capture fantastic action shots without needing a flash or expensive lens. When these things will be helpful is indoors, but the T4i's low noise levels at the mid ISO settings excel this camera over the previous Rebel models indoors as well.

Looking at out indoor sample images gives us an even better idea of the amount of detail that the T4i is capable of capturing. With the aperture set to f/8.0, the entire image is crisp and sharp, which allows us to see more detail than ever before in our M&M man shot. Every stitch of the flag is visible at ISO 100. This fantastic image quality continuous on throughout the ISO range. At ISO 800 most of the stitching has faded away, but the overall image is still sharp, and looking very closely you will start to see a little bit of noise is some of the darker areas. ISO 3200 is where the noise really starts to take over the image and where you will want to stay away from while shooting unless you have no other choice. Anything above that is not really going to be acceptable if quality and detail are what you are aiming for, but the ISO 12,800 is a good thought.

Canon has included a pop-up flash unit to assist you with your low-light shooting situations. With a guide number of Approx. 13/43 (at ISO 100 in meters/feet), it does have its limits, but will be useful in most everyday shooting situations. For outdoor shooting or shooting in a large, dark area, an optional Canon Speedlite Flash will serve you much better. From the compact 270EX II to the outmatched performance of power of the 600EX-RT, there is an external flash unit out there for everyone's needs.

Shooting performance has become a big deal with the T4i, with the additions of the new hybrid autofocus system and the DIGIC 5 processor. During our tests, we were able to capture up to 4.65fps shooting with a Sandisk UHS-1 SDHC card, which is just slightly slower than the 5fps that Canon claims. This is up from the 3.7fps that the T3i was capable of. These also give the camera the ability to capture HDR/Backlight images and other Low-Light shooting modes with a burst of 3 images that the camera will combine after they are captured. The new AF system helps in these regards by giving a faster and more accurate focus by combining the Contrast Detection with Phase Detection.

Canon has made big improvements in the video department, mainly by adding the ability to capture 1080p HD video with continuous autofocus. This is the first major improvement to the  video capture since 1080p capture was added to the T2i. Now the camera has the ability to stay focused on a subject as it moves. This feature works pretty well, as long as the subject or the zoom moves slowly. It was when we encountered fast moving subjects or zooming to quickly that the camera would lose focus and have to catch up. Canon's new series of STM lenses have also been created to allow the continuous autofocus to happen without you being able to hear the motor running when you watch your movies. To compliment the excellent video quality, the T4i uses a stereo microphone to record its audio. The mic's sensitivity can be controlled manually, and there is also a digital wind filter to help eliminate wind noise while recording outside. To further increase the sound quality, the T4i also has a microphone input jack to accept higher quality microphones. 

Powering the new T4i is the LP-E8, a 7.2V, 1120mAh Li -Ion rechargeable battery. While completing our tests, we were able to capture over 300 images and several videos with the camera still showing a full battery icon. This fits in well with Canon's claims of capturing up to 550 images on a single charge of the LP-E8. The camera is also capable of capturing up to 200 images if you shoot only in Live View mode, which is about the average for most compact digicams. As with all cameras, a spare battery is always a good idea. The T4i is also capable of using the BG-E8 battery grip, allowing the camera to operate off of two batteries, doubling your battery life. It also comes with an adapter that allows you to use AA type batteries in an emergency, and gives you vertical controls for portrait orientation shooting.

Bottom Line - The Canon EOS Digital Rebel T4i is the latest introductory dSLR in the EOS line. Canon has made sure that this is one of the highest quality entry level dSLR cameras on the market with an 18-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, DIGIC 5 processor, Vari-Angle 3.0-inch touch screen LCD, and one of the first dSLRs to offer continuous AF video recording. These are just a few of the amazing features found within this class-leading camera. Image quality and performance are also excellent, surpassing that of the previous Digital Rebel models. With a MSRP of US $1,199.00 for the T4i kit with the new 18-135 IS STM lens, or $849.00 for just the T4i body only, it is not the cheapest entry level dSLR on the market, but you will get your money's worth with it - and it's perfect for a first dSLR or for upgrading from a previous model.

You can check out the price of this camera on Adorama by clicking here

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